McLouth coach believes in hard work
Chad Brown isn't superstitious. He doesn't have a rabbit's foot, nor does he throw salt over his shoulder.
But for the first-year McLouth High coach, his number signals luck, at least on the surface.
Last year's record: 3-18
Postseason finish: lost in substate first round
Top returners: Isaac Gardner, sr.; Nathan Subelka, sr.; Tyler Trackwell, sr.; Travis Steffey, jr.; Terance Fixico, sr. (transferred from Montana).
Coach: Chad Brown
Year at school: first
Year overall: first
Alma maters, years: Topeka Seaman, '87; Washburn, '91
Brown is lucky No. 7, but scratch deeper at the situation, and one might think some Bulldog broke a mirror seven years ago. Each year, the Bulldogs have had different coach at the helm, leaving MHS with instability in its basketball program.
At least Brown isn't the 13th coach in 13 years. That, after all, would leave the team with plenty of bad karma. But ask Brown, and he could care less if black cats made their way in front of him, or if his pathway just happened to go under a ladder.
"I'm not really into superstitions," Brown said. "I'm a firm believer in if you work hard and you believe in your teammates, you create your own luck, get your breaks and things go your way," Brown said.
That would be a change for the Bulldogs, who return after a 3-18 campaign last season. McLouth, though, has a large team of 27 players, including 10 freshmen. The squad also has four seniors, seven juniors and six sophomores.
Brown's senior class consists of Nathan Subelka, Tyler Trackwell, Cody Strange and Terence Fixico, a transfer from Montana who initially left McLouth as a freshman.
"We have a good senior class, starting with the camp," Brown said about a summer high school clinic. "We want this to be their team."
When Brown and his players open the season at 6 p.m. Thursday in Wathena, it will be his team as well.
More specifically, his first high school basketball team. A 1987 graduate of Seaman High in Topeka, Brown has coached at the middle school level at Northern Hills in Topeka, along with having assistant duties for the Seaman football and baseball programs.
But this is the Washburn graduate's first head coaching stint at the high school level. Although Brown expected some changes going from Topeka to McLouth, the adjustments have been small, he said.
"I found that the atmosphere with the student's was really a lot like where I came from," Brown said. It's the Seaman district in a smaller community. I found the transition very easy."
Brown actually has a degree in communications, but returned to Washburn to earn his education degree.
Although the Topeka native had stints at KLBY in Colby and KTKA in Topeka, he traded in broadcast news for secondary education. While earning his education degree, Brown went to work as a paraprofessional at Northern Hills. He then served as an English teacher at the school before coming to McLouth this fall.
Brown might seem out of place coming from Topeka, but he's familiar with the DVL. He has relatives who have played for Valley Falls.
MHS could struggle coming back from last season, but Brown is ready for the challenge.
"We don't want to focus on the past too much, but what we want to stress is get over that obstacle of being down," Brown said.
For how long the Bulldogs are in that condition might be decided in Brown's first year. But he doesn't plan for it to be his last.
"I'm not worried about coming in and it being the one-and-done thing," Brown said. "It's a good starting point for me."